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Friday
Aug182017

Medicare Advantage plans are rethinking member experience

Kristin Rodriguez, Health Plan Alliance. August 18, 2017

One of my favorite moments during our Medicare Advantage Value Visit, July 19-21 was when Melissa Smith, Vice President, Stars & Quality Innovations with Gorman Health Group said the highest performing health plans are the ones “making old school new again.” The point she was making? That which sets high performing health plans apart is the ability to execute at the member level.  The flavor of how health plans are tackling that member-level execution differed with each case study we explored during our time together last month, and yet the same theme presented again and again, with every conversation.  Elevating and protecting the member experience is paramount to ensuring strong market position, better outcomes and higher star ratings.

The “member experience” is a relatively new, hot topic for MA plans, though really it’s just a consolidation of the efforts we’ve been making for a long time, reframed into a global strategy that is bringing leaders from across the enterprise together to tackle challenging issues like these: making member facing materials more palatable, leveraging digital channels to enhance engagement, evaluating our MA portfolio with an eye on social determinants of health and guarding against chronic loneliness, building dashboards our provider partners actually care about, so they can deliver the care to those members that need it most, and, finally, ensuring appropriate payment so that we can finance that care.

 

The challenge facing all Alliance member health plans and our provider partners as we seek to “execute at the member level” are the barriers we and our members face, which have traditionally been outside any health plan’s influence or control.  With the industry transformation to value based purchasing and the steady march of quality ratings programs’ focus to outcomes and experience, health plans must drive care from the clinic to the community, and forge partnerships that empower care for the “whole person.”  Our MA members face crippling chronic conditions like depression and diabetes, not to mention persistent loneliness.  And even for our healthy senior population, ensuring a benefit mix that supports long term health and happiness can be challenging when it comes time to submit a bid that both differentiates your plan and is sustainable.

Experts like John Gorman agree that Medicare Advantage is a sound investment for health plans, with strong market growth providing solid opportunity for health plans looking to diversify and perhaps stabilize their portfolio.  To become a high performing MA health plan, however, organizations must be willing to identify and remove barriers preventing them from executing at the member level.  No matter what’s potentially holding you back, you can bet another Alliance member health plan is facing a similar challenge, or perhaps has even found a way to solve it. Through ongoing networking in-person and virtually, and by sharing our tools and lessons learned, we can help one another make “old school new again.”

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